I have an install wizard for product X with steps A > B > C>...>G, where C has a single drop-down selector. The drop-down selector in C either has one option, or many options: this is determined by the optional configuration of a separate product, Y. If Y has been configured, you would have multiple options. If Y has not been configured, you would only have one option, the built-in default. I expect only about 25% of users to want Y configured.

In cases where Y has not been configured, and thus there is only one option for the selector, is it appropriate to omit page C?

My concern with leaving the page in is that this is a feature many users don't care about, and I would then have entire additional page most users don't need. At the moment, there is not another appropriate page in the wizard for the selector.

I've seen many posts here that advocate against hiding elements that users can sometimes access, but those have discussed menu items or buttons, rather than pages in a multi-step process.

1 Answer 1


Hide it.

Wizards are for the benefit of the user, not the developers. Your wizard should ask questions which can be answered to produce a result - a question with only one answer is not really a question.

Quince has a post on post on the Wizard pattern (http://quince.infragistics.com/Patterns/Wizard.aspx), in which they define the problem:

Sometimes people need step-by-step guidance to achieve their goal.

A question with one answer isn't guidance.

User Experience Engineering also has a writeup on the Wizard pattern (http://www.uie.com/articles/wizard/) in which they talk about when it isn't useful:

When it Doesn't Solve the Problem

With the advent of Windows 95, wizards have become much more prevalent. In fact, we’re seeing some wizards that no one we’ve tested even needs, and they seem to be included for the convenience of developers, not users.

The Find Setup Wizard in Windows 95 is one such example. It lets users customize the way the help database is searched. Unfortunately, no user we’ve seen has ever changed the defaults, and many resent the extra required click.

In your case, the user is powerless to modify the option so it doesn't help them. They would likely become confused as to why they can't change it!

Here are several other write-ups on the Wizard pattern that might be of use:

  • 1
    I found uie.com/articles/wizard, "When it Doesn't Solve the Problem: When You Want to Teach" particularly helpful: I have a coworker arguing that we need to leave it in to show users where the configuration of Y would affect product X. My response is that if they don't know about configuring Y, the wizard for product X is not the place to teach them.
    – AlannaRose
    Commented Sep 17, 2014 at 16:47
  • Spot on for a wizard not being the place to teach about another product! While it might make sense from a marketing standpoint ("hey, look at what else you can spend your money on") it does not make sense from a UX point of view. Commented Sep 17, 2014 at 16:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.